If you ask ten people on the street what’s the secret to staying and looking young you will get ten different answers. In California one may answer with “my secret is Botox and fillers”. Did you know the Botox industry’s annual income is $1.3 Billion (Statistic Brain, 2013)? Isn’t this an insane number? Think about this, 1.3 Billion spent on injections that last about 4 months to keep wrinkles at bay in order to stay young looking. In Japan, one may answer with “eating lots of fresh vegetables and fruits”. In Japan, on an average day they eat at least seven servings of vegetables, including sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, seaweed, onions, and bean sprouts as well as at least two servings of anti-oxidant rich fruits. Did you know that Japanese are, factually the longest living people on earth? It is estimated that that about one fifth of the population in Japan is 65 years or older. It has been estimated that in Japan by 2020, the ratio of elderly to children will be 3:1. There are 51,376 Japanese aged 100 or older as of September 2012 (Koh, 2012).
As you may conclude the secret to ‘anti-aging’ is unique to each person and may be based on one’s life experiences, ethnic background, belief system, socio-economic status, gender, geographic location and so forth. Truthfully there are an abundant number of ‘secrets’ to anti-aging ranging from diet, exercise, supplements, creams, beverages, etc. I can discuss the benefits of omega-3 rich fish such as salmon and tuna, or how whole grains protect against diabetes, heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, high blood pressure and gum disease. Or I can focus on one of the biggest secret which is exercise and how being active maintains muscle mass, helps boost metabolism, and helps with cardiovascular health. I can mention how running has been shown to prolong health and life. Since it is such a wide topic I will focus today on the drinking ‘from the fountain of youth’.
This is my top recommended drink for staying young:
Green tea is by far one of the most powerful drinks a person can consume for health with many numerous benefits for the human body and mind. Green tea is a type of tea made solely with the leaves of the evergreen plant, Camellia sinensis; and undergoes minimal oxidation during processing. The tea originates from China as far back as 5000 years ago. There are two legends that describe how green tea originated. The first legend says a man named Shien Non Shei was walking one day. Upon his walk, he accidentally tasted juice from a tea plant. He was amazed at the spectacular taste and thought the juice has special medicinal properties. So he created a drink with it by adding it to water and created tea. The second legend says an Emperor called Shen Nung first tasted it after a tea blossom fell into his cup of hot water (Green Tea earth, 2010).
So how does drinking green tea help you stay young?
Skin-Green tea benefits the skin. It has long been treasured as an anti-aging secret, most evidently in Asia, where most old people look younger than they actually are. It is rich in anti-oxidants; green tea is a great anti-aging remedy that helps ward off wrinkles by fighting free radicals. Free radicals are the molecules that are formed by exposure to Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation from sunlight. These free radicals are dangerous because they damage healthy cells by stealing electrons from them. The anti-oxidants in green tea also heal damaged cells that may otherwise lead to wrinkles, blemishes, spots and other similar skin ailments.
Green tea has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties because it contains catechins; thus helping give skin a radiant glow and smooth by suppressing blemishes, acne and helps reduce swelling. Studies have shown that drinking 2 cups of green tea per day may help decrease risk of skin cancer due to its high anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that may help heal the pre-cancerous scaly keratosis. Scaly keratosis may affect those who have chronic sun exposure. . A British study conducted in 2007 discovered that adding lemon juice to green tea boosts its anti-cancer properties. To obtain green tea benefits for skin, go ahead and add a few drops of lemon juice to your green tea to help your body strengthen its anti-cancer properties and prevent skin cancer (Sanghi, 2010)
Green tea also acts like a natural sunscreen for the skin. We are exposed daily to UV light from the sun; these damaging rays loosen the skin causing oxidation to take place by robbing free electrons from healthy skin cells. The free radicals lodge between skin cells and as time passes, weakens the healthy protection system of your skin, which can lead to wrinkles to form on the skin. This is why one of the major green tea benefits for skin is its natural shield that protects your skin from harmful UV rays. Drinking green tea over a long period of time naturally heals the severe sunburn damages caused to the skin by prolonged exposure to the sun’s dangerous UV rays (Source).
Mind/Body-Green tea also contains alkaloids including caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline that provide stimulant effects on the human body. L-Theanine, an amino acid compound found in green tea has calming effects on the nervous system. Green tea plays a significant role in the reduction of heart disease. There is a component called polyphenol, or catechin, which is in green tea. The consumption of polyphenol improves your health by not only reducing disease, but also by preventing the death of brain cells that causes Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases. It also reduces bad cholesterol (LDL). Green tea also has been shown to kick off metabolism. It helps to reduce body weight by speeding up the body’s calorie burning process.
Exposure to pollution, smoking and excess sunlight increases the number of free radicals in the blood, but the potent antioxidants found in green tea adds to the belief that green tea not only promotes good health but also makes you look younger.
Remember the healthier you are, the younger you look. ☺
Nurse Practitioner, ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer, published fitness and health writer, bikini model. Inside Fitness Magazine Model Search Series Director (www.insidefitnessmodelsearch.com)
Dubuc, R.M. (2008). The many beauty benefits of green tea. www.yahoo.com
Hara, Yukihiko. 2001. Green Tea Heath Benefits and Applications. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
Koh, Y. (2012). Japan Centenarian Population Tops 50,000. The Wall Street Journal.
Sanghi, P. (2010) stay young with green tea.
Statistic Brain (2013). http://www.statisticbrain.com/botox-statistics/